You would think that with an Emmy, being named Personality of The Year and being in the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame, finding a job would be easy. That wasn’t the case for Tim Hattrick who, for a decade, was part of the successful Tim and Willy show at KNIX in Phoenix. When CBS dropped the show in 2012, the duo figured they could go out on their own and attempted to syndicate and stream their show. And, as Hattrick tells Radio Ink, that’s how he lost his life savings. Hattrick returned to KNIX this month as part of the Tim, Ben & Brooke Show, but it was a long and scary road back to radio. Here’s Tim’s story
Radio Ink: You and Willy were at KNIX from 1998 to 2007. Why did you leave the station?
Hattrick: We had an amazing run on KNIX, but wanted to see what other opportunities were out there. Turns out, there wasn’t any quite like KNIX, so I’m excited to be back on the air in Phoenix.
Radio Ink: After you lost your job in 2012 how did you lose your life savings?
Hattrick: After losing my job at CBS, I started a company called Fireproof Entertainment. It was a play on words: if we worked for ourselves, we couldn’t get fired. We syndicated the Tim and Willy Show on 5 stations around Arizona and online with both audio and video streams. The business was successful financially but the operational burden was too much. I was the worst boss I ever worked for.
Radio Ink: You were so well known, why couldn’t you find another job in radio? Was it because you did not want to leave Phoenix?
Hattrick: I didn’t want to leave Phoenix, that’s true. I pursued a handful of radio jobs in town, looked at ad agencies, PR, marketing, etc. – nothing panned out. My bills didn’t seem to care about my legacy or name recognition, they just wanted to be paid.
Radio Ink: You took a lot of odd jobs when you left radio. Tell us about those.
Hattrick: I emceed a fundraiser for a charity called Pipeline Worldwide. Next thing you know, I was in Africa with them digging fresh water wells in Uganda and Rwanda. I took a seasonal job at Amazon’s largest fulfillment center in the world in southwest Phoenix. It was fascinating and exhausting. I’d have to ice my knees at night like I’d played basketball all day. I loved driving with Uber for a year because it was like doing a radio show – one passenger at a time and I met a ton of really interesting people. I was a UPS delivery driver when KNIX called.
Radio Ink: Did you ever think you had a shot to get back into the business?
Hattrick: I’m annoyingly optimistic. My wife teases me with the nickname “Brightside Guy.” I was confident I’d return. But in the last year, I felt the radio door was closing. I had so many great stories and adventures to share. I figured I’d just have to find a new outlet like a blog or a podcast.
Radio Ink: So give us the details on how you got back on the air at KNIX?
Hattrick: Steve Geofferies invited me to help with the stations’ end-of-the-year special. It was called “KNIX A to Z” and featured songs and stories from KNIX’s 40-year history. What
seemed like a good idea on paper, sounded even more amazing on the air! The audience response was overwhelming. When Steve invited me to join the morning show I was blown away. I called my wife to tell her but I could hardly speak.
Radio Ink: What advice do you have for hosts who may face losing their job?
Hattrick: Whatever you do, keep exercising your creative muscles. Write, blog, post on social media like it’s a break on your show. Be fun, real, and connect with your community. Open mic storytelling events, like The Moth, are becoming very popular. Find one near you and participate. Everyone has a great story, but to your advantage you have years of experience. Finally, I simply couldn’t survive without my gracious wife & kids and my faith in God. It’s no secret: Jesus and Connie saved me from myself. Kinda sounds like a country song, doesn’t it? I hope Tim McGraw is reading this.
Radio Ink: How much are you enjoying being back and with your new team?
Hattrick: I love it. Ben Campbell is so talented he scares me. I’m powerless when he starts to riff. Brooke Hoover has the wisdom and wit of a much older soul that’s trapped in the body of a sassy millennial. She’s a mash-up of all four of my daughters, except I’m not paying her mobile phone bill. Barrel Boy is the greatest radio personality I’ve ever seen. No one out-works the “Man in the Can” or does a better job loving our listeners face to face. It’s a great and fun staff that really cares about our listeners and the Phoenix community, and everyone has made me feel very welcome. It’s good to be home.
Reach out to Tim to welcome him back to radio at [email protected]